The U.S. Navy is scheduled to christen and launch its 10th Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, the future USS St. Louis (LCS-19) during a ceremony at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin on Saturday, Dec. 15.
Last week, the ship was transferred out of the construction bay and to the riverfront in preparation for her christening ceremony and launch.
The future USS St. Louis, designated LCS 19, honors Missouri’s major port city along the Mississippi River. She will be the seventh ship to bear the name St. Louis. The first was a sloop of war, the second a Civil War gunboat, followed by a Spanish-American War-era steamer troop ship, a World War I cruiser, a World War II light cruiser, and a Cold War era attack cargo ship.
The ship’s sponsor is Barbara Broadhurst Taylor, wife of Andy Taylor who is the chairman of Enterprise Holdings, the largest private company in St. Louis. Broadhurst Taylor is also the daughter of a former Air Force general and her father-in-law served as a Navy pilot on the USS Enterprise. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will christen the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
The principal speaker of the ceremony will be U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt from Missouri.
“The future USS St. Louis honors not just the great city of St. Louis, Missouri, but also the skilled industrial workforce who built this ship,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “This christening marks the transition of USS St. Louis being a mere hull number to a ship with a name and a spirit, and is a testament to the increased lethality and readiness made possible by the combined effort between our industrial partners and the Navy and Marine Corps team.”
Once commissioned into service, the ship will be assigned to the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship Squadron TWO.
The LCS is a high speed, agile, shallow draft, mission-focused surface combatant designed for operations in the littoral environment, yet fully capable of open ocean operations. It is a modular, reconfigurable ship designed to meet validated fleet requirements for surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasures missions.
A mission package is embarked on each LCS that provides the primary mission systems in one of these warfare areas. Using an open architecture design, modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to gain, sustain and exploit littoral maritime supremacy, LCS provides U.S. joint force access to critical theaters.
The LCS class consists of the Freedom variant and Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls, e.g., LCS 1). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and follow-on even-numbered hulls).
There are seven Freedom-variant LCSs in various stages of production and test at Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM).
The sixth Freedom-variant LCS, the USS Sioux City (LCS 11) was commissioned in Annapolis, Maryland, Nov. 17 while the seventh vessel of the class, the future USS Wichita (LCS 13). is scheduled for commissioning Jan. 12 in Jacksonville, Florida. The future USS Billings (LCS 15), recently completed acceptance trials in the waters of Lake Michigan and the future USS Indianapolis (LCS 17), slated for sea trials in 2019.